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American Piano Works

Nicolas Flagello , Paul Creston , Vittorio Giannini , Tatjana Rankovich Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Price: $20.82 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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American Piano Works + Vittorio Giannini: Quintet for Piano and Strings; Trio for Piano and Strings [World Premiere Recordings]
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Product Details

  • Performer: Tatjana Rankovich
  • Composer: Nicolas Flagello, Paul Creston, Vittorio Giannini
  • Audio CD (June 22, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Phoenix USA
  • ASIN: B00005YY0B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,939 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano Sonata, Op.9 (1936) Composed by Paul Creston
2. Six Preludes, Op. 38 (1945) Composed by Paul Creston
3. Piano Sonata (1963) Composed by Vittorio Giannini
4. Two Waltzes (1953) Composed by Nicolas Flagello
5. Piano Sonata (1962) Composed by Nicolas Flagello

Editorial Reviews

Review

This CD is an illuminating collection of major works for solo piano. -- Raymond Tuttle: Classical Net

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
The three American composers featured on this disc share a common Italian ancestry - Paul Creston was born Giuseppe Guttoveggio in 1906 -, a traditionalist compositional bent, and even personal ties, as Flagello was a pupil of Giannini.

In view of the fact that he left school at 15 in order to earn a living and was largely self-taught in music and composition, Creston's Sonata from 1936 is an early work. It starts muscularly and busily as a Prokofiev Sonata, but soon settles into a neo-classical (even neo-baroque) and very French elegance. It could have been written by Poulenc, Auric or Sauguet. Debussy (Suite Bergamasque) and Ravel (Sonatine, Valses nobles et sentimentales) also comes to mind. As the notes aptly put it, the music is "a combination of Baroque patterns and textures and Impressionist harmony, suffused with a romantic temperament and organized around the elaborate development of a few basic motifs".

The six preludes from 1945 are meant to exemplify the theory of rhythm that Creston had developed in those years, but despite its theoretical purpose it doesn't sound at all cerebral. Ravel and post-Debussy impressionism again come to mind in the nostalgic and dreamy preludes # 2 (which also evokes Copland's "prairie" style) and 5 (the latter's Romanticism also recalls some Rachmaninoff salon piece), as well as in the rippling arpeggios of # 3. It is Gershwin and ragtime that come to mind in the jagged boogie-woogie syncopations of # 4, and even the first movement of Dutilleux's Sonata in the busy activity and sometimes anger of Prelude 1 & 6.

I hear similarities again with Dutilleux's Sonata in the agitated but dreamy harmonies of the First movement of Giannini's Sonata - a late work (1963), composed three years before the composer's death.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moderately interesting music, decently played February 13, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Paul Creston, Vittorio Giannini and Nicolas Flagello were all Italian-American. Musically, they also shared a certain conservativeness with respect to idiom - Creston employing mildly dissonant but lyrical neo-classicism (or neo-archaisism), Giannini a staunch neoromantic, somewhat reminiscent of Barber, though not afraid of dissonance, whereas Flagello's almost ardent romanticism does to an extent mark him off as the most conservative of the three (even if he was not averse to more modern colors or grittiness). The disc at hand collects together their most important works for solo piano, and is as such a useful compendium; the music is generally fine - even though none of the works are anywhere close to masterpieces by any standards - and the playing more than competent, even though one could dream of slightly more suave phrasing. The occasional harshness of the sound is partially to blame on the recording, however, which is clear but not particularly flattering to the piano sound.

Creston's sonata was penned in 1936, and is a resourceful and variegated work. It avoids emotional extremes, going instead for a certain urbane elegance and sophistication, but the results are compelling - in fact, it is probably the highlight of the disc. The opening movement starts out assertively, but gradually gives way to a more playful, lyrical atmosphere. The second movement is slightly sardonic but very enjoyable, the third movement is rich, variegated and beautiful, and the finale is a color take on neo-baroque ideas. The six Preludes (1945), based on various "rhythmic structures", are also enjoyable, even if I doubt they really add up to anything particularly memorable.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific piano music October 13, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
These mid-20th Century composers created some melodic, beautiful works, as evidenced here. Tatjana Rankovich interprets with style and passion.
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